Royal Society : Progress By Degrees

The Royal Society today publishes its latest layman’s summary of Climate Change, and thankfully manages to avoid several representational pitfalls that sceptic-deniers could have leapt on and said “See ! We told you !”

http://royalsociety.org/climate-change-summary-of-science/

Unfortunately, to my mind, it still has a few chinks in the door that should have slammed shut and permanently sealed off the sceptic-denier “contributions” on the subject.

Let’s look at the Royal Society narrative of progress by degrees, for example.

In section 28, “Aspects of climate change on which there is wide agreement : Climate forcing by greenhouse gas changes”, it reads :-

“…Application of established physical principles shows that, even in the absence of processes that amplify or reduce climate change […], the climate sensitivity would be around 1 degree C, for a doubling of CO2 [Carbon Dioxide] concentrations [in the atmosphere]…”

The related material in section 36, “Aspects of climate change where there is a wide consensus but continuing debate and discussion : Climate sensitivity”, goes on to talk about how global warming causes changes in the hydrological cycle, and how water vapour builds up in the atmosphere because of global warming, leading to further global warming :-

“…The more complex climate models, supported by observations, allow climate sensitivity to be calculated in the presence of processes that amplify or reduce the size of the climate response. Increases in water vapour alone, in response to warming, are estimated to approximately double the climate sensitivity from its value in the absence of amplifying processes. There nevertheless remain uncertainties in how much water vapour amounts will change, and how these changes will be distributed in the atmosphere, in response to a warming. Climate models indicate that the overall climate sensitivity (for a hypothetical doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere) is likely to lie in the range 2 degrees C to 4.5 degrees C; this range is mainly due to the difficulties in simulating the overall effect of the response of clouds to climate change mentioned earlier…”

Continue reading Royal Society : Progress By Degrees

Richard Black : “Bad Boy” ?

Richard Black takes the subject of Climate Change as far away from the actual science as possible, by apparently giving in to resentment over his treatment at the hands of Joseph Romm :-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/09/something_new_and_not_altogeth.html

“‘Warmist’ attack smacks of ‘sceptical’ intolerance : Richard Black | 16:42 UK time, Wednesday, 22 September 2010 : It seems that something new, and not altogether welcome, may be happening in the politicking over climate change. I have written before of the orchestrated villification that comes the way of climate scientists from some people and organisations who are unconvinced of the case for human-induced climate change – “sceptics”, “deniers”, as you wish. Journalists, including your humble correspondent, receive our fair share too. This week, for the first time, I am seeing the same pattern from their opponents. Joe Romm, the physicist-cum-government-advisor-cum-polemicist, posted a blog entry highly critical of the Arctic ice article I wrote last week. Headlined “Dreadful climate story by BBC’s Richard Black”, it takes me to task, essentially, for not mentioning human-induced climate change explicitly. He then gives my email address and invites his readers to send in complaints. Many have, perhaps swayed by judgemental terms in his post such as “spin”, “inexcusable”, and “mis-reporting”, with several citing his interpretation as gospel truth. He is as entitled to his views as anyone else. But this is, at least in my experience, the first time that “warmers” – those who, like Dr Romm, believe climate change is taking us to hell in a handcart and who lobby for more urgent action on the issue – have resorted to the internet equivalent of taking banners onto the street in an attempt to influence reporting of the issue. At least, that is the surface complaint; what my omission hides, he hints heavily, is an agenda aimed at downplaying the impacts of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions…”

What makes Richard Black, or his editor, think it’s a good use of his time to cover this matter ?

He has admitted, in my direct hearing, that he hasn’t really read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report, so maybe he should start there instead of covering the A, B, C of normal BBC “environmental reporting protocol” ?

Continue reading Richard Black : “Bad Boy” ?

Naomi Oreskes & Erik Conway

Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway recommend that grassroots Internet writers focus on Climate Change Policy, in this Climate Science Watch interview shot at Netroots Nation 2010.

The subject of government policies to deal with Climate Change borders on the excessively dull – which is why most Internet web loggers (or “bloggers”) don’t want to touch Policy even with a full HazMat suit on.

It’s the kiss-of-interest-death to try to open up discussions on Carbon Taxation, Cap-and-Trade, Cap-and-Share, Cap-and-Dividend, Cap-and-Giveaway, Contraction & Convergence, Kyoto2, Border Tax Adjustments, Clean Development credits, Carbon Intensity and the like.

Only really seriously geeky, mildly obsessive people really want to think about the Big Picture. And many of us get stuck in a corner of unworkable aspiration, where we know something has to change, we fix on just a snippet of the giant problem, and then we find we cannot communicate it well enough for others to understand.

For example – very public insistence that the Coal-burning power generation industry has got to cease trading doesn’t make it happen, despite excellent reasoning and even entire Climate Camps of resistance and protest amongst the activist community.

This is probably because (a) most people don’t understand how banning Coal fits into the bigger Carbon picture, (b) most people don’t know how to go about asking the right people to ban Coal and (c) most of the Coal-burning industry don’t want people to look into their business too deeply so they have invested lots of money in public attitude smokescreens. No, it’s not a “conspiracy”. It’s a documented public relations exercise. Just ask Naomi and Erik.

Continue reading Naomi Oreskes & Erik Conway